Bystanders watched on helplessly after a woman turned herself into a human fireball in a Sutherland village which has been without an operational fire crew for more than two years.

Plea over fire crew rules after death of woman who 'turned herself into human fireball

Plea over fire crew rules after death of woman who ‘turned herself into human fireball

A fisherman even tried to put out the inferno with a fire extinguisher.

The tragic incident has led to renewed calls for a relaxation of the regulations to allow rural communities to recruit fire fighters. Rules on minimum staffing mean Lochinver volunteers cannot use their fire appliance.

On Friday, a 37-year-old, woman drove to the nearby car park half-a-mile from the fire station and her Skoda exploded into flames. Police are not treating the incident as suspicious.

By the time a crew arrived from Achiltibuie, 45 minutes away, the car was burnt out.

Lochinver Community Council chairman David Slator said: “If our fire tender had been available it is unclear if it would have affected the outcome.

“However the community – and especially those at the scene trying to help – would have felt that we had done all we could in this situation.

“The community council will continue to work with the SFRS in trying to resolve the crewing of the Lochinver Fire Station as fast as possible. We wish to extend our condolences to the lady’s family.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue area manager John Macdonald has said the fire service is looking at ways to make the equipment more accessible for people living and working in rural areas.

He recently said: “It would be wholly inappropriate for me to reduce the level of training that is designed to make these people safe when they respond to incidents.”